How to be more creative
It’s hard to be creative on a consistent basis.
We all have our good days and our bad days.
However, there are a number of ways to ensure that the positive ones outweigh the negative ones.
The following ten points are inspired by Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad, the latest book from Austin Kleon.
For those of you that haven’t come across him, he’s a New York Times bestselling author of the books Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work!
These books have helped millions find their inner creative and we keep a copy of each on our shelves here at 42Courses HQ.
The most important thing to remember is not to be too critical of yourself. Ideas are fragile in their early stages and need nurturing.
Also, don’t let yourself believe that creativity is some mysterious skill that only a few possess. The truth is it’s something all human brains do, if given the right conditions.
1. Create a daily routine
It can be as wacky as you like. There is no perfect template to follow. Honoré de Balzac allegedly drank as much as 50 cups of coffee a day to fuel his writing endeavours!
The point is to train the mind to be consistently creative and this can only happen through forming a habit.
2. Make lists
Of what you want to achieve and what you did achieve. It helps to guide your subconscious to do the work.
It’s also a chance to reflect on past achievements and achieve a sense of progress.
3. Build your own ‘bliss station’
The author of The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell, said that everyone should have a ‘bliss station’:
You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be........
Ideally it’s a separate room. Ditch the phone. Avoid the news. Enter your bliss state!
4. Make gifts
Giving is a gift for both the giver and the receiver. Making them involves both creativity and thought. Pick a friend or relative and challenge yourself to make something for them.
5. Find extraordinary in the ordinary
Rene Magritte said his goal with his art was “to breathe new life into the way we look at the ordinary things around us.”
Start by paying more attention to the world around you. Slow down. Draw more. Pay attention to what you’re paying attention to.
The ordinary contains within it the extraordinary.
6. It’s ok to change your mind
Creativity thrives on uncertainty.
Don’t feel wedded to one approach. Have friends challenge your work. You might find one comment unlocks a whole new avenue of ideas.
7. Interact with people who don’t share your perspective
Break out of your like-minded bubble. Leave your ivory tower. Talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to. Ask them questions and see what you uncover.
8. Don’t be fooled by the shiny and the new
Read old books. Study old philosophy. Learn a traditional craft.
Just because it’s new doesn’t make it better.
9. Remember that creativity and productivity are often at odds with one another
Ah…the power of napping.
It seems unproductive but it often leads to powerful new ideas. Many of the greatest creative minds like Dali and Thomas Edison were fond of tactically scheduled sleep.
10. Go for a walk
The Latin phrase solvitur ambulando means "it is solved by walking”.
Henry David Thoreau spent four hours a day walking around the woods outside Concord when he wrote his famous essay Walden; or, Life in the Woods.
Make it a daily habit. Keep a notebook with you. Thoughts will pop up.
Creativity is a vital skill for any company. The ability to solve problems and spot new opportunities is what separates those that survive and prosper from those that fail.
If you’re interested in how creativity can transform your business then pre-register for our upcoming course ‘Creativity for Business’ for more info.